Agasthya 6.3 The joy of bird watching in a rural landscape
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Centre for Excellence in Conservation Science
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In the gradient of a common man's natural progression to a serious birder, whose access to Protected Areas (PA) is restricted, birds around one's courtyard, paddy field or the nearby pond/lake plays a crucial role in honing one's bird-watching skills during those formative years. And I am no exception. But the interesting part, at least in my case, is that even after I have had access to several PAs in the last few years, the fascination with those that exists beyond them, is still strong. While working in KMTR for the last 5 years I also got ample opportunities to watch birds that existed beyond the reserve, mostly through the annual 'water fowl census' that ACCC organises every winter. It was during these surveys that I could master my field identification skills of the waders. And the wetlands that the great river Tamiraparani supported in the landscape are literally 'treasure troves' of bird diversity , particularly the aquatic ones. During the survey, we encountered about 60 species of wetland birds including a few species like black bittern, pied avocet which are not very common in the area. Many are winter migrants for whom these wetlands are critical source of food and shelter. However, most wetlands are threatened today , as the article by Allwin and Mathivanan in this issue highlights. Birds, even those occurring beyond the PA, should be conserved and protected, mainly from the threats of local poaching, which, if goes unchecked for a long time, can pose serious survival challenge for them. Many people, even those who live in close vicinity with these birds and have come to know about their intrinsic values such as being natural pest controllers and natural fertilizing agents, still seek them out and persecute them by bursting crackers, shooting with catapult, setting snares and traps and by stealing eggs. Thus it wouldn't be entirely wrong to suggest that if protected areas allegedly alienate people, even the people outside such areas appear to alienate themselves from the rich diversity of life in and around them, for reasons beyond the comprehension of a passionate birder like me.



Editorial Team
Editor: Allwin Jesudasan
Associate editor: Rajkamal Goswami
Editorial Review: R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, T. Ganesh
Design and presentation: Kiran Salagame

Volume 6,  Issue 3
      November 2012

A S H O K A   T R U S T   F O R   R E S E A R C H   I N   E C O L O G Y   A N D   T H E   E N V I R O N M E N T

The joy of bird watching in a rural landscape
- Seshadri K S
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